By Wahab Abdulah
THEÂ League of Imams and Alfas of South Western Nigeria has confirmed that this yearâ€™s Ramadan fasting will begin on August 22, based on astronomical calculations that the crescent of the holy month will become visible on Friday, August 21.
In a statement by its Secretary General, Shaykh Sadrudeen Biobaku, and Publicity Secretary, Shaykh Habibullah Adam al-Ilory, the body condemned the Boko Haram violence and called for â€œpeace which Islam stands for and emphasize most strongly.â€
While dissociating itself from the call to abandon Western education, it said: â€œthe whole basis of the so-called western education was learnt from the Muslims. It therefore, emphasizes the need for Muslim to acquire all forms of useful education from whatever sources as directed by the messenger of Allah.â€
However, the League stressed the need to ensure that education for Muslim children must include sound spiritual and moral elements based on Islamic teaching.
On the Ramadan fast, it said the announcement followed months of deliberations among top Nigerian Muslim scholars towards unity as the month approaches.
According to the statement, â€œFollowing the examination of reports of recent meetings on the issue of the start of Ramadan, the League agreed that Ramadan will start on Saturday 22 August, 2009, as the crescent of Ramadan is due to be visible on Friday 21 August 2009.
â€œThis decision was based on the following scientific and astronomical facts in conjunction with the traditions of the Sunnah:
â€œThe astronomical new moon will occur at 11.02a.m. local time on Thursday 20 August 2009 and so cannot be visible even after sunset on that day. By sunset on Friday 21 August, the new moon would be 31hours old, so it will be visible after sunset on that day, signifying the end of Shaâ€˜ban.
â€œSo, fasting will commence on Saturday 22nd of August 2009. It was also decided that, based on similar scientific and astronomical facts, it was decided that the first of the month of Shawwal is Sunday, 20 September, 2009.â€